Chaucer's "Summoner's Tale" and the Logic of Literature.

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  • Author(s): Perry, R. D.1
  • Source:
    Poetics Today. Mar2020, Vol. 41 Issue 1, p37-57. 21p.
  • Document Type:
    Article
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Author-Supplied Keywords:
      Geoffrey Chaucer
      literary form
      medieval logic
      Scholastic philosophy
      The Canterbury Tales
    • Abstract:
      This essay discusses the fart joke that ends Geoffrey Chaucer's "Summoner's Tale." It argues that the joke uses the language of medieval philosophy to satirize the work of medieval Scholastic philosophers. The essay begins by examining Chaucer's relationship to philosophy more broadly and the scholarly controversies over Chaucer's familiarity with this field of knowledge. It focuses on the way Chaucer uses disciplinary- specific jargon from philosophy, and from medieval logic more particularly, in "The Summoner's Tale." The language and content of the joke in "The Summoner's Tale" are a burlesque play on the interests of the Merton Calculators, who used the logical thinking Scholasticism had developed in response to theological problems to investigate problems associated with natural philosophy. Chaucer's joke reveals the way that the logical work of philosophers like Thomas Aquinas and the Merton Calculators relies on formal qualities more closely associated with literature, namely, character and narrative. In making a case that literature and logic rely on these same formal structures, Chaucer affirms literature's capacity to present examples, concrete manifestations of philosophical or logical problems. He suggests that logic is attempting to make stories to work out problems, something that literature can do more effectively. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
      Copyright of Poetics Today is the property of Duke University Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
    • Author Affiliations:
      1University of Denver
    • ISSN:
      0333-5372
    • Accession Number:
      10.1215/03335372-7974072
    • Accession Number:
      143680193
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      PERRY, R. D. Chaucer’s “Summoner’s Tale” and the Logic of Literature. Poetics Today, [s. l.], v. 41, n. 1, p. 37–57, 2020. DOI 10.1215/03335372-7974072. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=hlh&AN=143680193. Acesso em: 19 out. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Perry RD. Chaucer’s “Summoner’s Tale” and the Logic of Literature. Poetics Today. 2020;41(1):37-57. doi:10.1215/03335372-7974072
    • APA:
      Perry, R. D. (2020). Chaucer’s “Summoner’s Tale” and the Logic of Literature. Poetics Today, 41(1), 37–57. https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-7974072
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Perry, R. D. 2020. “Chaucer’s ‘Summoner’s Tale’ and the Logic of Literature.” Poetics Today 41 (1): 37–57. doi:10.1215/03335372-7974072.
    • Harvard:
      Perry, R. D. (2020) ‘Chaucer’s “Summoner’s Tale” and the Logic of Literature’, Poetics Today, 41(1), pp. 37–57. doi: 10.1215/03335372-7974072.
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Perry, RD 2020, ‘Chaucer’s “Summoner’s Tale” and the Logic of Literature’, Poetics Today, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 37–57, viewed 19 October 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Perry, R. D. “Chaucer’s ‘Summoner’s Tale’ and the Logic of Literature.” Poetics Today, vol. 41, no. 1, Mar. 2020, pp. 37–57. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1215/03335372-7974072.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Perry, R. D. “Chaucer’s ‘Summoner’s Tale’ and the Logic of Literature.” Poetics Today 41, no. 1 (March 2020): 37–57. doi:10.1215/03335372-7974072.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Perry RD. Chaucer’s “Summoner’s Tale” and the Logic of Literature. Poetics Today [Internet]. 2020 Mar [cited 2020 Oct 19];41(1):37–57. Available from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=hlh&AN=143680193